Top Tips for Budget Travel in Scotland
Home to dramatic scenery, a heap of crumbling castles and the renowned
Edinburgh Festival, Scotland has something to offer every traveller. From
the tips of the mountains to its lively cultural cities, it’s a
fascinating place to explore.
Making your way among the sights can add up to a costly experience, so
here’s a collection of money-saving tips to help you make the most
of a Scottish vacation for less. Here's how to backpack Scotland —
on a budget.
Transport on the Cheap
Getting up to Scotland from London can now be quick and affordable, thanks
to low-cost airlines which fly into Edinburgh and Glasgow on a regular
basis. What’s more, if you book well in advance, flights are generally
Even though the UK’s railways can be expensive, advance tickets
can offer great savings on train travel. The cheapest way to travel to
Scotland, however, is by bus, and prices start as low as £10. One
word of warning – this journey is rather long!
Once in Scotland, an extensive bus and train network allows travellers
to reach the outer edges of the countryside and, like the larger national
services, discounts are also available in advance.
Instead of splashing out on hotels, budget travellers can opt to stay
in affordable dorm beds or private rooms scattered across the country
at hostels in Scotland, from Glasgow to Aberdeen and Loch Ness to the
Isle of Skye.
Whether you’re looking for quality Edinburgh hostels in the heart
of the city center or to spend a night at the reputedly haunted hostel
at Carbisdale Castle, hostels offer cheap accommodation to suit every
Dining out can add up to a big expense on your travels but you can still
find a bargain in most local Scottish pubs where hearty meals, such as
soup, stew and fish and chips, can be enjoyed for a reasonable price.
Pints can also fit nicely into the budget, as they tend to be cheaper
than wine and spirits.
For further savings, travellers can also take advantage of the kitchens
often available at hostels in Scotland and self-cater during their stay
– it’s actually a great affordable way to sample local ingredients
travellers wishing to try and fit in as many sights as possible will find
that passes which offer entry to a number of different attractions can
be a cheaper alternative to buying expensive individual tickets. Historic
Scotland has an excellent offer for the three major castles in the Lothian
area (Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart) which will save the budget-wise
traveller a third of the price.
Three Thrifty Things to Do
Enjoy some history for the price of
a pint. Avoid pricey museums and indulge in a drink
with your history lesson at Edinburgh’s Ensign Ewart pub (521
Lawnmarket, The Royal Mile). One of the oldest establishments in the
city, it dates back to the 17th century and was named for Ensign Charles
Ewart - reputedly the man responsible for capturing the French standard
at the Battle of Waterloo. Famous patrons have included authors Robert
Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns.
Monster spotting at Loch Ness.
Take a tour around the notorious loch to admire its stunning scenery
and watch out for the creature that is said to inhabit its depths.
Well-known in popular culture (despite no scientific evidence ever
having been recovered), and the subject of numerous reported sightings
and hoaxes, the tale has spawned a series of movies and books speculating
on its existence.
Soak up the magic of the stones in
the Outer Hebrides. Excavations at the late Neolithic
stone circle at Calanais have estimated that it was set up around
2600 BC, making it older than the more famous sight at Stonehenge.
The stones have a unique arrangement, with lines radiating in four
directions from the ring, and their significance and construction
remains a mystery. Situated on a prominent ridge, the circle is visible
for miles around and its magic is free to explore.